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Meet the New CCJ Team Members

This summer, CCJ will be hosting community meetings, educational events, festivals, and tabling around the community. Joining our team to help with our summer blitz are four fellows and a community organizer. Read more about each of them below: 

Allison Evans (she/her) is our new organizer working primarily in Washington County, where she was born and raised. Allison received a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studio Art with a minor in History from Westminster College and an Associate of Science in Fashion Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Allison is an artist, a photographer, and an activist. Her passion for activism and social justice brought her to CCJ. Allison serves on the board of a local non-profit, ReVisions, that strives to fight racism by addressing its roots in our educational system and teaching the next generation about diversity and inclusivity. Allison also has ties to the fracking industry. The family farm she grew up on had a well pad, and her husband worked for the industry for years. She saw firsthand how fracking and energy extraction affects people in her community. Allison also has a passion for sustainability, growing her own food, and composting. She loves gardening with her husband Jason, spending time with family and friends, trips to the ocean, camping, and spoiling her cats, Kitty and Katniss. Send Allison a welcome at allison@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org 

 

Nina Victoria is excited to join the CCJ team as a Policy Fellow. Before beginning in this position, she graduated from Duquesne University School of Law, where she served as Editor-In-Chief of JOULE: Duquesne Energy & Environmental Law Journal and an intern for PA State Senator James Brewster’s office. Before law school, Nina attended the University of Washington where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. As a lifelong resident of Coal Center, PA, Nina is passionate about protecting the health and safety of the residents of Southwestern, PA and our natural resources. Whether it is gardening, paddleboarding, or playing with her dog, when Nina is not working you will likely find her outside enjoying the fresh air. Send Nina a welcome at nina@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org 

 

Alex Downing is a 2022 Outreach Fellow for CCJ. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and is excited to develop strategies to communicate climate and environmental issues. He has a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications from American University and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Point Park University. He enjoys kayaking in local waterways and going to Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins games. Send Alex a welcome at alex@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org 

 

 

 

Saint McClendon (they/them) is our organizing fellow from North Strabane Township, Washington County. They are a graduate of Robert Morris University where they earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor degree in Cyber Forensics. Saint loves to cook, paint and is a gamer in their free time. Send them a welcome at imani@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org 

 

 

 

 

Catherine is a Master of Public Policy student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She comes to CCJ as a fellow with the Eli J. and Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program, a lifelong Fellowship that provides training, development, and networking to foster the next generation of citizen leaders.  Originally from Morgantown, West Virginia, Catherine is proud of her Appalachian roots and passionate about community development and environmental justice.  Before starting graduate school, she completed two years of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Honors College at West Virginia University, launching an experiential learning program and developing the Honors College’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. She is also a member of the Morgantown chapter of the National Organization for Women and works with a statewide task force to advocate for the CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act at the state and local levels around West Virginia. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. In her free time, Catherine enjoys reading, hiking, cross stitch, and watching Formula 1. Send Catherine a welcome at catherine@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org 

Our fellowship program is a core component of our leadership development, and we look forward to the growth of our new staff and their mark on our communities.

Author

  • Veronica Coptis joined the CCJ staff in March 2013 as a Community Organizer and is now serving as the Executive Director. She grew up in western Greene County near the Bailey Mine Complex and currently lives in the eastern part of the county. Before joining the CCJ staff, Veronica served on the Board of Directors for CCJ and organized with Mountain Watershed Association. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University. She enjoys hiking and geocaching at Ryerson State Park and other areas around Greene County with her husband and daughters. Read more about Veronica in a New Yorker Magazine profile at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/03/the-future-of-coal-country.

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